Last week we took a short three-day camping trip to Stone Mountain and enjoyed the great outdoors as a family. We had a beautiful site near the lake and the children played in the lake(you're not really swimming if you are up to your knees - right?), cooked hotdogs on the fire and enjoyed the day at Stone Mountain park petting animals, climbing ropes course, playing in a foam ball fight, petting a baby hedgehog, a brief Geyser Tower wetting and fireworks. We laughed and played and waded through the pollen on a pretty spring day and then headed back to the campsite.
Now we knew there would be some rain showers but we weren't 'skeered'. We had endured rain before - it sounds nice on the tent in a little shower but we weren't ready for the storms and wind and downpour. The rain set in around 7:30 and we hunkered down in our PJ's and read and sang and eventually went off to sleep.
Around 11:30 I woke up to the tent blowing around and rain coming down in buckets outside. Jeremy and I held down the tent while the wind blew and the rain began to drip a little in the tent(I had left the ventilation flap up) - and our three precious children slept soundly through it all. We were up for the next hour or more holding down the tent, stopping the dripping and even made a short trip out in the rain to fix the tarp that was pooling water under the tent rather than helping. All was fixed and fine and we were back asleep until morning. The next morning the wind was still blowing the weather was not letting up so we broke camp a few hours early and headed to see the Aunts, cousin and Big Papa. (Thanks for letting the dirty campers invade the house for the afternoon - we enjoyed seeing you)
All in all a great trip - loads of fun with the family.
What an adventure the outdoors can be! Simple fun with sticks, lots of water, walking, birds chirping...and TIME. Time, the one thing that seems to elude me on a normal day when I run from my bed to the bathroom to the kitchen to the car to the school to work to the house again and back to my bed. In my inside world - the world I think I control - it seems like someone else's time, a time that is controlled and fixed and one that outruns me everyday.
But outside it's different. Yes, there are demands that orient me to the passing of time - hungry bellies and fading light but there is also a world that doesn't seem to run on my clock, doesn't run on my time, isn't controlled by my influence (except sometimes my weeds and grass are subdued by my diligent husband). A reminder that 'This is my Father's World' and that He takes care of even the smallest details - the bumblebees flitting in and out of the vines, the slug on the side of the tent, the earthworms wriggling with glee in the moist earth, the pollen hanging thick in the air like a fog machine, the twinkling stars millions of miles away. It can be messy but there is order and beauty and life.
And I long to be able to live everyday with my inside world like the outside world - trusting completely that it is controlled by ONE who loves me and knows all things rather than for me thinking I must hold all things together. I imagine I would be more like my sweet precious children who slept through the storm, at peace and trusting in their parents to care for them rather than worry and be frightened. I know the peace of trusting my heavenly Father but I forget - I so easily forget and get overwhelmed in the storms of life and the ticking clock of time that leave me feeling desperate to get ahead (ahead of the laundry, the dirty floors, the homework, the grocery shopping, the next birthday, the next project, the next workday). I know that when I remember who really holds all things together that my inside world becomes more beautiful, ordered and full of life just like the outside.
I'm so grateful for time this past week to remember the important things in life and to enjoy them with my precious family in the great outdoors. Now home to the pollen covered porch and the adventures in my backyard with this family of mine.
This adventure reminded me of a passage I recently read to our children with some dear friends -
Jesus is in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with his closest friends. They are headed across the sea when a uncharacteristically severe storm hits and they are tossed about to the point of despair, feeling as if they will drown. Jesus is asleep through the whole storm until the friends wake him up.
'But the storm wasn't too big for Jesus.
"HELP!" they screamed. "Wake up! Quick, Jesus!"
Jesus opened his eyes.
"Rescue us! Save us!" they shrieked. "Don't you care?"(Of course Jesus cared, and this was the very reason he had come - to rescue them and to save them.)
Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm.
"Hush!" he said. That's all.
And the strangest thing happened...The wind and the waves recognized Jesus' voice. (They had heard it before, of course - it was the same voice that made them, in the very beginning). They listened to Jesus and they did what he said.
Immediately the wind stopped. The water calmed down. It glittered innocently in the moonlight and lapped quietly against the side of the boat, as if nothing had happened.
The little boat bobbed gently up and down. There was a deep stillness and a great quiet all around.
Then Jesus turned to his wind-torn friends. "Why were you scared?" he asked. "Did you forget who I AM? Did you believe your fears instead of me?"
Jesus' friend were quiet. As quiet as the wind and waves. And into their hearts came a different kind of storm.
"What kind of man is this?" they asked themselves anxiously. "Even the wind and the waves obey him!" they said, because they didn't understand. They didn't realize yet that Jesus was the Son of God.
Jesus' friends had been so afraid, they had only seen the big waves. They had forgotten that, if Jesus was with them, then they had nothing to be afraid of.
No matter how small their boat - of how big the storm.'
taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every story whispers his name by Sally Lloyd-Jones with illustrations by Jago p.242